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Appeal court exonerates journalist in 2004 criminal defamation case

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 20 July 2009, an appeal court in Dakar exonerated Madiambal Diagne, managing editor of the privately-owned newspaper "Le Quotidien", of criminal charges stemming from a 2004 article that accused President Abdoulaye Wade of manipulating the country's judiciary.

This is the second time that the managing editor, who is also the general administrator of Avenir Communications Group, which publishes the newspaper, has been freed on the same matter. On 4 May 2006, a magistrate's court in Dakar acquitted him of the same charges due to insufficient evidence.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s correspondent reported that on 13 July 2009, two years after the lower court's ruling, Lansana Diabé, the state prosecutor, filed an appeal challenging the magistrate court's decision.

Madiambal Diagne was arrested on 9 July 2004 and detained for 17 days. He was released on 26 July 2004 following an intense campaign mounted by his colleagues as well as local and international civil society organisations.

The article in question was headlined: "The good judges Wade does not want to see".

MFWA is satisfied with this latest decision which clearly upholds the rule of law and will go a long way to enhance the growth of media freedom in Senegal.

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